Thursday, February 17, 2005

Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.
    Nikola Tesla

It is Thursday night--the sun just went down in Brooklyn, dying across the sky into the bay. I saw it go down, walking in Red Hook, getting ready for this evening, getting ready to build the outline and make the show happen. Unlike most of my nights which I spend reading Jonathan Stewart and Stephen Colbert slash fiction, tonight I will be making the bones and skeleton of the monologue I open tomorrow.

It's a strange thing, and there are few others who work this way--it would seem so natural, to work from an outline and let the words drop into their places in that one moment onstage, then hone and sharpen that from night to night until you get something more than script, but I'm old enough to know now that it is not common, and it is only natural to me. It is so alien to the rest of the theater world that I am always a little ashamed--ashamed of how we can't rehearse, how we break every rule, how no one ever really believes that we make these monologues up out of thin air.

But we do. I'll do it tonight, over pages and pages of legal pad, with a sharpie, writing deceptively little as the pieces I've been gestating since August of 2003 come into closer and closer focus. It's time to make that happen, and thank God for that--I can imagine few hells as complete as remaining pregnant like this forever with no release.

We found out today that the Tesla coil isn't going to happen--we got it moved to the space, we defeated ten layers of bureaucracy, fear and concern but in the end we we lost. The details hardly matter: an out-of-code breaker box, a pile of red tape, an insurance policy that can't be extended--it's the same story we all hear every day. What's amazing is how far along it got, and how close it was to happening--the coil is actually at the theater now, in the paint room, silent, gathering dust, waiting to go home.

It was hubris of a kind, to think that we could harness electricity for our own ends, bring it back to tell Tesla's story and not suspect that the same forces that ended his life in disappointment heaped on anticlimax would assert themselves here. The world hasn't changed, for good or evil it's the same world, and that in fact is the issue we're all grappling with every day we wake up on this globe.

Forgive me for getting all elevated and shit--I write this way as I close in one the outline, maybe just to get it out of my system before the real work begins.

I hope to see you all at the show, if that's something geography allows you to do.
6:49 PM